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The Virtue Trap

Sometimes we say thank you, as an apology for all the things you really wanted to share and say and didn’t – or couldn’t.” ~ Rhea (Excerpt from the Artist Way) A creative person, must have down time. Time to do nothing. Time to be alone. If we don’t get that time, we get crabby, […]

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Sometimes we say thank you, as an apology for all the things you really wanted to share and say and didn’t – or couldn’t.” ~ Rhea

(Excerpt from the Artist Way)

A creative person, must have down time. Time to do nothing. Time to be alone. If we don’t get that time, we get crabby, we grow distant from ourselves and we shut down. Time to process things by yourself, just wander and be. But, the world demands our attention. It WANTS to help (to feel good about themselves). Work, our families, our friends, all that draws us out. Just when you most need time to recoup, your friend calls needing to talk. The umteenth time this happens, you finally think “I’m going to ask her to keep quiet.” The umpty-Umpteenth time it happens, you think “I’m going to keep quiet myself.” What’s the use? Replaces our feelings of joy and satisfaction. We may continue to create, but there is no joy and no juice in it. We are vampirizing ourselves.

We are caught in the virtue trap.

There are many pay-offs for this behaviour. Taking care of others to the exclusion of ourselves distances us from our selves, takes away the responsibility to succeed, doesn’t bring us into the company of our inner critic. We make a virtue out of self deprivation. We feel superior, because we are of service to those around us. We strive to be good, kind, generous — but all we want is to be left alone. (Can we be good kind generous to OTHERS when we cannot be good kind generous to Ourselves – How can you give what you don’t have?).  When we can’t get others to leave us alone, we eventually abandon our selves. We may look and act to others as though we’re still home, but spiritually we’ve gone to ground. Our empty shell stays because it must. Like a listless circus animal, it goes through its routines. But any accolades fall on deaf ears. Our artist is not merely out of sorts, our artist has checked out. Life is now an out of body experience. A clinician will call this disassociating. 

Afraid to appear selfish we lose ourselves.

We are self destructive, we are destroying our true nature. We  begin to fake relating. We become inauthentic. 

Many people caught in the Virtue trap, do not appear to be self destructive to the casual eye. Bent on being the good husband father wife, mother daughter whatever, they have constructed a false self that looks good to the world and meets with a lot of “worldly approval” . the FALSE self is patient, always willing to agree with, defer. Its needs to meet the groups needs, playing to the gallery – so that you get to hear “what a great person”. 

The Cost of this Virtue Trap is – Inauthenticity, low sense of self fulfilment, feeling Fake  and Ironically, Low trustworthiness. 

(Exercise)

Are you caught in the Virtue Trap ?

  • 1.The Biggest lack in my Life is _________________
  • 2.The Greatest Joy in my Life is __________________
  • 3.My largest time commitment is ____________________
  • 4.As I play more, I work __________________
  • 5.I feel guilty that I am ___________________________
  • 6.I worry that ____________________
  • 7.If My dreams come true, my family will _______________________
  • 8.I sabotage myself so people will feel _______________________
  • 9.If I let myself feel it , I’m angry that I ____________________
  • 10.One reason I feel sad sometimes is  ________________________
  • 11.When in conversation I wait till  _____________________
  • 12.I stop relating with the other when _____________________
  • 13.When I don’t get to say what I want to I ______________________
  • 14.I would rather ___________________ than ________________
  • 15.If I spoke my Mind Authentically my worry is _________________
  • 16.I am afraid I will be found out for my  _________________
  • 17.Intimacy with others means _________________
  • 18.Often in groups  I  ___________________
  • 19.When conversation become difficult I  __________________
  • 20.If I had the courage I could say __________________
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